Cozen O’Connor

It’s the last day of December, so it’s a good time to look back on the year that was. We’ll do what we’ve done for the past three years (wrap-up posts from 2009, 2010, and 2011 can be found here, here, and here) and identify the ten biggest stories of the past year as decided by you, our readers. With the help of Google Analytics, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten posts for 2012, based on traffic (as represented by pageviews).

By the way, for the third year in a row, the most popular category page on Above the Law was Law Schools. People have now been intensely focused on the declining value proposition of going to law school for as long as it takes to earn a Juris Doctor degree. Isn’t it time that we graduate from the current educational model?

The second and third most-popular categories on ATL in 2012 were Biglaw and Bonuses. Although this year brought us the largest law firm failure ever, nearly all other firms indiscriminately doled out offers to summer associates, and bonus season looked better for the first time in years. While the legal profession is still in transition, things are certainly looking up, and through the highs and the lows, we’ve been there to cover it all.

So what were the ten most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2012? Let’s find out….

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The year is quickly drawing to a close, but we have unfinished business to conduct here at Above the Law. Come on, people, we still have to crown our Lawyer of the Year for 2012.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our call for nominations, in the comments or via email. We’ve narrowed down the nominees to a field of nine (although you’ll see only eight options in the poll because one is a joint nomination). As in past years, the contenders run the gamut from distinguished to despicable.

And the nominees are….

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Compassion can be found in the halls of Biglaw.

Despite our occasional curmudgeonly moments, we are generally happy people here at Above the Law, and we love happy stories. Our pages are full of feel-good tales (even if negativity bias causes readers to remember the sad or angry stories more than the happy ones).

Just in the past few months, for example, we’ve written about a law student who rescued an elderly woman from an oncoming train, a prosecutor who came to the aid of hate-crime victims, a law clerk who won a beauty contest, lawyers who have left the law to find success in other fields…. we could go on.

One of my favorite happy stories from our archives involved a partner at Haynes and Boone, Matthew Deffebach, who donated a kidney to the son of a HayBoo staffer. That’s even more noble than giving someone the shirt off your back.

Today’s story might not measure up to that high standard, but it’s another great example of a partner with compassion….

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A 43-year-old trust fund baby?

Talk about #RichPeopleProblems. And #DaddyIssues.

A prominent Manhattan lawyer is suing his own daughter. For libel. Because she allegedly harmed his reputation. By seeking an accounting of her trust fund. Which he set up for her and reportedly administers. Got that?

Yes, Dad v. Daughter. How could something this messed-up not be our Lawsuit of the Day? Especially given the claimed size of the trust fund, stocked with such goodies as Hamptons real estate?

It’s hard to get one’s head around these allegations, but the litigation is for real. Let’s take a look at the competing claims. And how much the trust fund was supposedly worth at one point — we’re talking seven figures here….

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* To prepare for the upcoming term, the Supreme Court added six new cases to its docket. Much to our chagrin, none of them are about gay marriage. In other news, Matt Kaiser was right: this is a term only a lawyer can love. [National Law Journal]

* “We are not going to forget where we came from.” As it turns out, not everyone at this firm is a “huge [bleep]hole.” Cozen O’Connor announced this week that Michael J. Heller will step up to serve as the firm’s chief executive officer. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* Apparently law school deans are “merely middle management.” Frank Wu, Chancellor and Dean of UC Hastings Law, gives an interesting insider opinion about what the view is like from the top of the ivory tower. [Huffington Post]

* “Caveat emptor makes for a lousy law school motto”: an exposition on why law schools should tell their prospective students the truth about their job prospects after graduation. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Anna Gristina, the Millionaire Madam, pleaded guilty to one count of promoting prostitution. Does this mean we’ll never find out more about the “prominent Manhattan lawyer” who was allegedly a client? [New York Post]

* New Jersey Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (ne Fist Pumper) proposed a piece of legislation called the “Snookiville Law.” If it means more cash for the towns that have to suffer wrath of reality TV, then so be it. [CNN]

Less ‘mentally taxing’ than social events?

Things have definitely changed since the summer associate days of yore. There are no more Aquagirls, no more lesbianic lip-locks, and no more Katten kreeps. These days, we’re looking at a group of law students who were so scared about being no-offered that they actually wished their firms would’ve worked them harder instead of forcing them to have mandatory fun.

At least that seems to be the conclusion to be drawn from the American Lawyer’s 2012 Summer Associate Survey. Am Law polled 4,138 interns at 138 firms about their summer experiences and used the results to rank 111 summer programs. Truth be told, it seems like they were too anxious to really enjoy their time as summers, because when asked to rank their “worry level” on a 1-to-5 scale, the average was higher than it has been since 2009′s summer of discontent.

But even so, the overall rankings were still pretty good. If you’re a law student trying to figure out where to spend your summer, you’re probably asking: which law firms came out with the highest scores?

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* When in doubt, seek divine guidance and bet it all on black. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is going to be visiting Las Vegas this week, where he will attend a Red Mass and then head for the Strip. [Reno Gazette-Journal]

* After being limited on page length, a licensing expert opted to file a five-page cartoon brief in the Apple e-book case. This dude can retire, because he’s achieved legal baller status. [Bloomberg]

* James Hayes’s lawsuit over ICE’s alleged federal “frat house” has been sent to mediation for a possible settlement — but in real Greek life, he likely would’ve been peer pressured to de-pledge. [Washington Post]

* Bull’s-eye! Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Arthur Schack has recused himself from a personal injury case where he was alleged to have called a Cozen O’Connor partner a “piece of sh*t.” [New York Law Journal]

* The case of the missing asterisk: an Ohio Court of Appeals candidate was fined for wearing judge’s robes in her campaign flyers because she failed to indicate her judicial status or lack thereof. [National Law Journal]

* How much does it cost to cover up and then begrudgingly deal with a child sex abuse scandal? The tab thus far for Penn State University is about $17M — $4M of which went to legal services and defense. [CBS News]

* Despite Villanova Law’s admissions scandal, the dean reports that the school has admitted its “highest-quality” class ever. You know it’s hard to believe anything you say about your data, right? [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Bullseye!

The last time we wrote about a partner from Cozen O’Connor, he ended up with a “huge [bleep]hole” after sending a string of allegedly abusive emails to opposing counsel. Today, we’ve got another Cozen partner whose tale of woe with the New York court system may be liable for giving a New York judge a “huge [bleep]hole” of his own.

John McDonough, the Cozen partner in question, has accused Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Arthur Schack of some pretty untoward actions, and has filed papers to get the judge to recuse himself from a $100 million civil case against Duane Reade.

But what could have been so offensive that it would warrant calls for a judge’s recusal? Apparently McDonough isn’t a fan of being referred to as a “piece of sh*t”….

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It’s time to announce the winner of May’s Lawyer of the Month competition. This time around, readers had five of our most entertaining lawyers to date to choose from, including allegedly outrageous emailers, super-rude letter writers, and penile picture painters. But at the end of the day, only one lawyer’s “[bleep]hole” was huge enough to get an edge over the rest of last month’s competition.

Let’s see who took home the title of Lawyer of the Month for May, an honor we certainly hope was worth losing his job over….

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April’s showers were supposed to bring May’s flowers, but last month turned out to be nothing but doom and gloom for the legal world. Not only did we get to see the biggest collapse of a law firm in U.S. history, but we also caught a glimpse of some of the worst allegations of attorney misconduct that we’ve seen in quite some time.

So, which attorney called opposing counsel an “ignorant slut”? Who busied himself with drawing pictures of male genitalia during a deposition? Which attorney wrote a letter to a former opponent in order to call him an “a-hole”? And who referred to a female attorney as the c-word?

Find out this, and more, when you check out our nominees for May’s Lawyer of the Month competition….

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